Known for doing the right thing, American teacher Ginger O'Neill travels to Osaka to win a prestigious Japanese academy as a sister school for her own. Her three-week mission is being followed not only by her school district but by the Washington Post and the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. Ginger, sole parent to her teenaged daughter, has spent the last twelve years - her widowhood - without romance; she claims there are no eligible men.
Things don't go smoothly for Ginger in Osaka, as her visit elicits one cultural predicament after another, each crisis taking its toll not only on her personally but on her ability to win the school partnership. Ginger's relationship with her host family, as well as her forbidden romance with a Japanese man, forces her to look at the path her life has been taking and, ultimately, presents her with a moral dilemma that will change her life.
Rich in literature, music, and cuisine, Osaka Heat is a journey deep into Japanese culture. Far from home and in the heat of a Kansai summer, Ginger O'Neill comes to grips with a past that haunts her and learns that a certain universal virtue is the key to her future.